Mammoth Monsoon Month

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By The Staff

The word monsoon, is derived from an Arabic work for seasonal winds. This year, it brought record August rain to Los Alamos.

On the Arabian peninsula, over India, and in other parts of the world where relatively dry land areas are adjacent to cool oceans, the prevailing winds shift with the seasons.  

Over India, there is a complete reversal, with summertime winds from the southwest and winter winds from the northeast.

Although we do not observe a 180 degree wind shift over New Mexico, we do observe a shift in the winds between the winter (winds from the west and southwest) and summer months (winds from the south).

The prevailing southerly winds during July and August, bring moisture/rains from Mexico, the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific.

So, the July/August rainy season has taken on the nickname of monsoon.  

The August precipitation total for Los Alamos was 6.01 inches – a whopping 80 percent above the 1971-2000 average of 3.33 inches.  

August was the 10th rainiest August on record; however, we did not come close to the all-time August rainfall record of 11.52 inches, which fell in 1952.

The rainy August almost doubled the January–July precipitation in Los Alamos, with year-to-date totals now being 13.39 inches, just above the 30-year average of 13.22 inches.  

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